Kotka protects the Baltic Sea by neutralizing nutrient emissions

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Yesterday on 13.7, the City of Kotka celebrated the opening of the The Tall Ships Races 2017 event with its own contribution towards improving the state of the Baltic Sea.  The City of Kotka, Kotka Maritime Research Centre and Kymen Vesi Oy have compensated for their nutrient emissions in the NutriTrade project of the John Nurminen Foundation.

2.3 tonnes less emissions into the Baltic Sea

Kymen Vesi Oy has in Mussalo, Kotka, Finland’s fourth largest municipal wastewater treatment plant.  The plant deals with the wastewater from about 90,000 inhabitants of the areas of Kotka, Pyhtää, Hamina and the former Anjalankoski, as well as industrial waste water from the same areas.

Even though the wastewater is already being cleaned in an extremely effective way, it is practically impossible for any operator to be able to produce a result that is completely nutritionally neutral.

To compensate for the annual phosphorus emissions of more than 2.3 tonnes, the City of Kotka, Kotka Maritime Research Centre and Kymen Vesi Oy support a reduction in phosphorous emissions by a total of 10,000 euros in the town of Kingisepp in northwest Russia, as well as the foundation’s own local fishing project.

This will reduce the phosphorus emissions into the Baltic Sea by over 2.3 tonnes, i.e., an equivalent amount to the annual emissions of the Mussalo plant.

Kotka’s efforts into cleaning up the Baltic Sea will be announced at a specialist Baltic Sea seminar on 14.7, organized in connection with The Tall Ships Races.

The idea is to support less efficient treatment plants

The support provided by Kotka is targeted towards the acquisition of a chemical tank for the Kingisepp wastewater treatment plant.  The Kingisepp plant has a joint venture with the John Nurminen Foundation, whereupon it commits itself to the level of wastewater treatment recommended by the Baltic Marine Environment Protection Commission, Helcom.

The idea of ​​the compensation is to use a sum of money on a less efficient water treatment plant, as it will have a greater impact on the state of the Baltic Sea than in Mussalo, where phosphorus is already effectively removed.

In addition, operators in Kotka also support the Finnish local fishing project, piloted in the NutriTrade project.

The local fishing project focuses on the fishing of carps and minnows.  The objective is to recycle a significant amount of nutrients from the sea onto the land, while, at the same time, promoting the use of domestic fish as food.

Kymenlaakso at the forefront in protecting the Gulf of Finland

In Kymenlaakso, industry and water plants have carried out long-term efforts towards the reduction of nutrient emissions.  Kymen Vesi Oy was founded 10 years ago, and the Mussalo wastewater treatment plant began to operate at full power in 2010.

The managing director of Kymen Vesi, Jani Väkevä, stresses that the investment in the wastewater treatment plant has really paid off: a modern, centralized wastewater treatment plant was built to replace seven local treatment plants.  Kymen Vesi is now often able to perform cleaning tasks at even higher standards than that which is required by the authorities.

There are many significant industries in the Kymenlaakso region, and the Mussalo wastewater treatment plant has also offset the loads produced by industry.  On the other hand, large forest industry companies also have their treatment plants.

“The nutrient load in the Gulf of Finland has dropped dramatically over the last ten years.  This is reflected in the lowering of both the concentrations of phosphorus and the levels of algae, especially in the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland.  The most positive developments have been influenced by measures taken in St. Petersburg, and a phosphorus fertilizer factory in Kingisepp.  Thanks to the extensive renovation of the Mussalo wastewater treatment plant in Kotka, the eutrophic load into the nearby waters of Kotka-Hamina has also dropped significantly.  When compared to the situation a decade ago, the phosphorus load from municipal wastewater has decreased by more than 40%, and the nitrogen load by more than 60%, “says special researcher Seppo Knuuttila, SYKE.

‘The obvious clearing of the sea area of Kotka over the past ten years is magnificent proof that with determined action, we can improve the state of our living environment during our own lifetime, “says Marjukka Porvari, who leads the environmental projects of the John Nurminen Foundation.

Everyone can take part in the challenges

“It’s great to have the marine Kotka involved in the NutriTrade project to neutralize phosphorous footprints.  We hope that the example shown by Kotka will inspire other Finnish cities to seize the issue, “says project manager Anna Saarentaus, responsible for the NutriTrade projects of the John Nurminen Foundation.

Kotka is now the second city to neutralize its nutrient emissions.  The first was piloted by Helsinki, which launched a co-project in 2016 in Vitebsk in Belarus.

The Nutribute group funding base created in the NutriTrade project will serve as the first voluntary nutrition emission trade system for the Baltic Sea and Europe, as a whole.  It will enable cities, businesses and citizens to neutralize their nutrient emissions.

“The Nutribute group funding base under construction will enable cities, businesses and citizens alike, in the future, to find and participate in emission reduction projects of interest” emphasizes Saarentaus.

Information and celebration coffee in the Baltic Sea village

Discussions concerning the state of the Baltic Sea will be open to everyone in the open Baltic Sea village, which is located on Itälaituri in Kantasatama. There, visitors will get to try the effect of their own choices on the state of the Baltic Sea with, among other things, the assistance of the  Baltic Sea- calculator.

Kymen Vesi will commemorate its 10th anniversary of operations by offering coffee and cake to visitors at the Baltic Sea village on Thursday 13 July, from 5pm to 7pm.

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The Baltic Sea seminar and Baltic Sea village hashtags:

#Itämeriseminaari2017 #puhdasitämeri #neutralointi #ravinnepäästöt #nutritrade #nutribute #itämerilaskuri #Itämeri #itämerikylä #balticseavillage

Additional information:

City of Kotka
Development director Terhi Lindholm, tel. +358 40 670 8222

Kymen Vesi Oy
Managing director Jani Väkevä, tel. +358 400 242162
jani.vakeva@kymenvesi.fi

Kotka Maritime Research Centre
Executive director Anna Kiiski, tel. +358 40 752 4392
anna.kiiski@merikotka.fi

John Nurminen Foundation
Project director Anna Saarentaus, NutriTrade project.  tel. +358 40 7190208
Director of the Clean Baltic Sea Project Marjukka Porvari.  tel. +358 41 5491535
etunimi.sukunimi@jnfoundation.fi

Background information

Kymen Vesi Oy, www.kymenvesi.fi

Kymen Vesi Oy is a regional water supply company operating in southern Kymenlaakso, owned by the cities of Kotka and Kouvola and the municipality of Pyhtää.  The starting point of the operation is high-quality water supply services and environmentally-friendly wastewater treatment.  Kymen Vesi Oy acts as a promoter, expert and developer of the water supply, in cooperation with other actors.

Kotka Maritime Research Centre, www.merikotka.fi

Kotka Maritime Research Centre, Merikotka, is a maritime research, safety and research centre that combines the expertise of leading Finnish colleges and research institutes.  A distinctive feature and significant strength of the research centre lies in the creation of multidisciplinary research with all the actors involved.

The John Nurminen Foundation www.johnnurmisensaatio.fi

Founded in 1992, the mission of the John Nurminen Foundation is to save the Baltic Sea for future generations.  The foundation’s Clean Baltic Sea projects will improve the state of the Baltic Sea through concrete actions that reduce the loads on the sea and environmental risks.  Clean Baltic Sea projects are funded through private donations and public funding.  The NutriTrade (NutriTrade – Piloting a Nutrient Trading Scheme in the Central Baltic) project provides a mechanism for the voluntary provision and financing of nutrition efforts in the Baltic Sea region.  NutriTrade is a flagship initiative of the EU Baltic Strategy and the project’s largest funder is the EU Interreg Central Baltic program.
www.nutritradebaltic.eu